Healdsburg pauses Bird bike-share program due to staffing vacancy

Healdsburg announced the suspension of its Bird bike pilot program in early January.|

Healdsburg temporarily suspended its Bird bike pilot program earlier this month, due to a staffing vacancy, less than four months after it was unanimously approved by City Council.

“We temporarily paused our operations in the city as we bring on a new local partner to lead on-the-ground logistics. We're confident we'll find the right fit for the market very soon and Bird Bikes will be back on the roads,” a Bird spokesperson told the Press Democrat Tuesday.

The company is looking for a member from the community to fill the role who would place, collect and charge Bird vehicles, the spokesperson said. The program will be suspended until the position is filled.

Bird began partnering with Healdsburg in September to offer shared bikes that users can rent through their smart phones.

Soon after the program started, there was “unfriendly bike weather,” said Larry Zimmer, executive director of Public Works for Healdsburg.

“I don’t believe the community had begun to rely on the bikes, so the temporary shutdown of services has not had much of an impact, beyond the disappointment,” he added.

Healdsburg announced the suspension on Facebook on Jan. 6. The city said it paused payments to the Santa Monica-based company while the program is on hold.

Less than a week later the city updated followers to let them know Bird planned to collect all bikes in the community until the program was reinstated.

On Tuesday, a community partner map on the company’s website did not show it was operating in Healdsburg.

Bird started in 2017 and offers shared bikes and scooters in over 450 cities in 25 countries, according to its website.

You can reach Staff Writer Jennifer Sawhney at jennifer.sawhney@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @sawhney_media.

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